Monthly Archives: March 2015

My New Cure for Writer’s Block — Which I Normally Don’t Suffer From

A seemingly long and exhausting mid-morning shoot of a cooking show and a frantic editing of a cover letter and synopsis to get some pages in the mail to beat a deadline left me starving. So after dropping off the envelope at the post office, Dick and I had lunch at a Thai restaurant on Hawthorne.

We came home and I was dragging my ass, so a nap was in order. Normally my naps last about an hour – at most an hour and a half. But this one was three hours.

Oh, my goodness. Did I have strange dreams. The first was about people who built a house in the middle of a house like the one we had on the farm. Perhaps they were human wasps. We ended up hog-tying them and having them hauled off by the police.

I roused, rolled over, and fell back asleep.

So I had a second dream about Dick and I being turned into aliens. This one I had to take control of because the aliens kept besting us.

So I woke up. Yikes!

With the weird dreams and three hour nap, I expect I’ll be up late writing. And next time I have writer’s block, I’m going back to my Thai restaurant for some Sweet & Sour and Spicy Green Beans followed by a nap.

Living and Loving Life

Here it is 6:50 in the morning and I’m drinking coffee while I wait for it to get light enough to go outside and do more yard work. I love being outside trimming, raking, and weeding. And the trees, bushes, and flowers seem to enjoy the attention.

But six months ago, the joy of gardening had left me. Granted, I harvested my veggies and tried to do some clean-up, but physically and mentally, I was dragging my ass. Life just wasn’t as much fun as it used to be and wallowing in my sorrows suited me. But this was not the real me. Usually, I’m out looking for new and fun things to do. Was I just getting old?

What happened is I had been concerned about taking too many Ibuprofen for muscle pain, so I switched to Naproxen, another pain killer. I had been taking it for a while before a friend of my hubby told him that it can cause depression. Trust me on this. It was a relief to find out that it was an outside force causing my depression. And I did know I was depressed.

So I stopped taking it. It takes a while for a medicine to clear the body. For me, about 4 – 5 months. Now my love of life has returned. Wow. What a difference. I want to play outdoors again. I look forward to writing and creating new stories. Walking, hiking, visiting restaurants. Being with friends. I’m game. And I feel better. I look better. I am smiling again.

I look at this as a cautionary tale. Depression and loss of the love of life can put a person so far down the well that is seems impossible to climb back up into the light. And I did have friends who saw me depressed and took it upon themselves to keep me going. I was lucky. Good friends can make a huge difference.

And then this chance comment by a friend of my hubby clued me in to what was causing my depression. So here I am again. I smile in the morning when I get up. I look forward to the day.

Not everyone gets lucky and finds a way to lift themselves out of the downward spiral. Not everyone finds a simple solution of not taking a particular non-prescription medicine. There are thousands of people who suffer from depression. If you know someone, be there for them. It was my family and friends who kept me going until I found the fix.

Time Keeps On Slipping, Slipping, Slipping

When we bought our house there were three wonderful pine trees in the front north corner of the yard. The previous owners were Japanese, and these trees had been trained into lovely shapes and the branches pruned so we could see the trunk.

Eventually, I learned how to prune the trees, although I never did the pom-poms. Just not my style. Usually, from start to finish, it took from 2 to 4 weeks. You see, I used clippers and cut out all the deadwood, trimmed back the candles, and shaped the trees. Sometimes I used a Japanese pruning saw to cut out a larger branch that had died. I did this every year. Then every other year. Then every three years.

On occasion, I slipped out of the tree and sprained an ankle, cracked a rib, or hit my head. Scratches and bruises were normal. No whining unless I needed stitches or blood was gushing. However, when I was finished, they looked marvelous.

Well, it’s been 4 years and I feel guilty every time I look at the trees. They are in sorry shape with dead needles covering the lower branches and killing the new growth underneath. So. This may be my last time to prune. And they will again look marvelous when I am finished. But I’m starting not with clippers and a hand pruning saw. I took my pruning chain saw to some of the branches that have been my bane. Bazipp. Bazipp. The branches that made it difficult for me to crawl up inside the tree or impossible to safely place my extension ladder are gone. Well, most of them.

I’m not finished, yet. I need to rest a bit. It doesn’t pay to keep on working when I’m tired. That’s the way to a sprained ankle, cracked rib, or bump on the head.

Life in the Slow Lane or An Anti-24/7 Rant

24/7. Remember. It was, and maybe still is, an idea that we must be productive every minute, every day of our lives. Even our down time had to be filled with intense activities. If you read a book, you must analyze it, dissect it, rank it, review it, and give it a star.

Looking at the whole 24/7 idea, I wonder how much came from Madison Avenue and the Ad Mongers. After all, if you can keep people in a constant state of busy, you can get them to consume, consume, consume. In other words, buy, buy, buy.

One of the downsides of this is we, or at least I, actually run out of time to do other important and enjoyable activities. Cooking is one. I used to love to cook. And I went out and u-picked veggies and fruit and preserved them myself. I made dilled green beans and corn relish. I canned pears and tree ripened peaches. I dried and froze other wonderful foods. I was creative and inventive with our foods.

But I ran out of time. And in a 24/7 world, concessions had to be made. Thus, more processed food came into our life. And no matter what the label said the ingredients were, it never tasted as good as what I made following my Mom’s and Grandma’s recipes.

Plus, life became a constant battle of weight and health issues. All those chemicals put into boxes of flour, cereal, cookies, breads, cake mixes, and all those chemicals put into canned food just cannot be healthy. And no matter how hard I tried, they had a funny aftertaste.

So, a pox on Madison Avenue. I don’t need to buy and try all those food products full of all those chemicals. As a matter of fact, I don’t need to buy all those clothes, all those shoes, all those gadgets and doo-dads that clutter the house. Ad Mongers, take your advertizing and stuff it.

Me. I’m going to go outside and putter in the yard. Then I’ll do some SCBWI stuff and a bit of writing. In there will be a nice salad for dinner and a bit of tidying around the house. Not too much. Not too little. But just right.

And a bath. I feel a bubble bath is in my future as is a nap.